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RF Featured Member: Jiva Manske

Jiva came to RF a year ago looking to gain strength. Through his sessions, he not only gained strength, but consistency, mobility, and community! Jiva is always game to try new movements and consistently demonstrates a positive, friendly attitude. Though Jiva trains one-on-one, the RF community has gotten to know him through his participation in our 2022 Summer Lift-Off, where he put up some impressive numbers, and on the RF Recreational Soccer League on Monday nights. In addition to being one of our most consistent members, Jiva brings kindness, openness, and a willingness to always discuss New Mexican food with our other New Mexico transplants. Jiva, we're so proud of all the hard work you've done and continue to do and we're so grateful you're a part of our community!


If there was one thing you could say to your Coach, what would it be?

I’d say thank you. I came into RF with the simple goal of feeling like I’m back in my body and establishing a more regular fitness rhythm in my life. I’ve not only surpassed all of that, and am stronger than I’ve ever been, I’ve also found community. As someone who is still relatively new to Tucson - this July will be 2 years - that sense of welcome and friendship from everyone in the RF community has been what I really needed.


Tell us a little about you. Where are you from? Are you a parent? What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I’m from Albuquerque, NM, and though I’ve lived in many places, that still feels like home. The mountains, the Rio Grande and the Bosque, the people, and of course the chile have shaped so much of who I am. I moved to Tucson for love, and in February married Hannah, who runs the middle school program at the Montessori Schoolhouse and is a light in my life and the world. She and I met in a program about learning to accompany people with trauma on their path to healing, so that work to support trauma healing is a big part of my life and work, which is focused on community safety, violence prevention, and healing justice. In my free time, when I’m not just hanging out with friends, exploring Tucson’s mountains, or eating some of this city’s delicious food, I love to watch soccer and read sci-fi and fantasy books.

What was the moment that made you decide to join Resilient Fitness?

I met Jesus in the same trauma healing program that I met my wife, Hannah, and from the moment that I learned there was a gym that was built on trauma-informed principles, I was intrigued. I joined the Racquet Club when I first moved to town so I could swim regularly and try to get back into shape as I moved into my 40s, but was looking for more and was having a hard time being consistent, so I decided to give RF a shot.


What is your fitness/nutrition experience prior to RF?

I was an athlete for my entire childhood through my early 20s. I grew up playing baseball, basketball, and soccer, and excelling in all three was a big part of my identity for a long time. As I moved through my college years and into my 20s, my priorities shifted, but up until I shattered my ankle in my early 30s and had to have surgery, playing in rec leagues and pick up courts and generally staying fit was a big part of my life. Although I’ve always had good access to good, fresh, nutritious food, and generally eaten a pretty healthy diet, I haven’t ever been very intentional about that beyond trying not to each too much sugar and making sure I have a good amount of veggies and protein each day.


What were your fitness habits like before joining RF? Were you already active? Were you new to fitness?

To be honest, most of my habits had all but dropped off. When I first moved to Tucson, I was swimming every day. Then it became a couple times a week, and when it got cold I would go shoot baskets or lift a few times a month. So though I had some foundation, by the time I joined RF I’d had pretty inconsistent habits for many years.


Why do you think RF worked so well for you compared to other programs and/or diets?

This is the first time since I was playing organized sports that I’ve worked with a coach. I worked out here and there with friends over the years, or played on rec league teams or pick up games, but didn’t have the consistent accountability or community that I have at RF. I think both of those pieces plus the welcoming atmosphere and the focus on positive feedback are huge parts of why I keep coming back.


What was the biggest challenge or change when you first started with RF?

Honestly it was just reaching out and then walking in the door for the first time. Once that happened, although there were certainly days that felt harder than others as we figured out my program, it felt easy from the start whether I was working with Jesus, Karina, or Alex.


What has been your biggest success while attending RF?

Probably growth in my confidence. Feeling good in my body and connected to community has helped me in every aspect of my life. That said, it was great to hit PRs in last December’s Lift Off, especially deadlifting 410 lbs!


What were 3 major non-scale victories you experienced with RF?

One has to be consistency - not only have I been regularly coming in for a little over a year, I’ve also been more consistently working out at home and when I have to travel for work. Two is more understanding of how warm ups and priming work, which has resulted in gaining more mobility, especially in my hips and shoulders - when I started, I had pretty constant, painful stiffness in my shoulder, and that’s been gone now for a long time. Three is building some competency in the Turkish get-up.


How has your life improved thanks to your time with RF?

Again, the confidence and community I’ve been at RF has radiated out into all aspects of my life.


What are 3 tips, based on your experience, that you’d give to new members of RF to help them see success early on?

Take it slow, be kind to yourself, and listen to the positivity of the coaches and others who have been there, so that you can master form and build a strong, consistent foundation.


If someone is thinking about joining RF, what advice would you give them before beginning their journey?

I’d just say come in for an initial consult and start to get to know the people.


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